The dozens of deaths that marred the recent Nigerian elections would be considered shocking by the standards of most developed nations. Compared to past elections, however, the violence this time around was limited, and many observers say social media and technology such as biometric card readers played a big role in minimizing conflict. Online services are credited with keeping people informed during the runup to the elections, promoting the feeling they could communicate and express their views without resorting to violence, and other technology helped to ensure cheating would be kept to a minimum. Nigeria’s experience suggests that tech can play a role in reducing election-related violence in other countries.
Nigeria: Muhammadu Buhari’s Party Retains Lagos Control, Amid Election Violence And Low Voter Turnout | International Business Times
Nigerian president-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s political party retained the Lagos state governorship, the country’s electoral commission said Sunday. Amid violence that marred weekend polling, Buhari’s All Progressives Congress consolidated the new president’s power by gaining control of the commercial capital, Reuters reported. The results mean it will be the first time since the end of Nigerian military rule in 1999 the governor of the capital and the president are from the same party. However, election observers said Buhari’s party reached that milestone with low voter turnout, compared to last month’s presidential vote that saw President Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat.
A spokesman for Nigeria’s All Progressives Congress (APC) says the party has momentum on its side ahead of Saturday’s gubernatorial election. Shehu Garba says the success of the party and its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, in the March 28 presidential election, is drawing nationwide support from other opposition parties to the APC in the run-up to the vote. He says the APC expects the security agencies to be neutral but ensure the protection of unarmed civilians. Garba says the party is ready to capitalize on its success in the recent presidential vote to defeat the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) gubernatorial candidates across the country.
Technology played a decisive role in helping Muhammadu Buhari become the first Nigerian to oust a sitting president at the ballot box, from social media campaigning to biometric machines preventing the widespread rigging that marred past polls. Three decades after seizing power in a military coup, part of the 72-year-old former general’s appeal to the electorate in Africa’s biggest economy lay in his successful rebranding as a man who embraced democracy. A good deal of that rebranding happened online, where campaigning from smartphones can build momentum at low cost.
In becoming the first Nigerian to defeat a sitting president through the ballot box yesterday, Muhammadu Buhari’s victory turned into a political flashpoint for African hopefuls determined to set the same precedent in their country. In Kenya, five democratic elections have yet to see an opposition candidate successfully unseat a sitting president. But Raila Odinga, who lost in 2007 and 2013, said the outcome of Nigeria’s election gives him hope. Buhari, who is 72 years old, lost elections three times before his successful campaign. Odinga will be the same age when Kenya holds its sixth presidential elections in 2017. In Tanzania, a young presidential hopeful, January Makamba, hopes to unseat his country’s ruling party candidate in October. The incumbent president, Jakaya Kikwete, is ineligible to run for a third term. In the lead up to a hotly contested race, and in a climate of escalating sectarian tensions between Christian and Muslim communities in Tanzania, Makamba commended the importance of a ruling party concession.
Nigerian election winner Muhammadu Buhari congratulated outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan for peacefully relinquishing power on Wednesday, a day after becoming the first Nigerian politician to unseat a sitting leader at the ballot box. In an unprecedented step, Jonathan phoned Buhari to concede defeat and issued a statement urging his supporters to accept the result, a signal of deepening democracy in Africa’s most populous nation that few had expected. “President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him,” Buhari told journalists and supporters to loud applause, wearing a black cap and kaftan.
Election officials worked into the night Monday counting the results from Nigeria’s tight presidential vote, while the U.S. and Britain warned of “disturbing indications” the tally could be subject to political interference. Early returns gave former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari seven states while incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan had five, including the Federal Capital Territory. But results from another 25 states were still to be tallied, and 22 states had not yet delivered their results to the counting center in Abuja, indicating a winner could not be announced before Tuesday. As expected, Buhari swept two major northern states of Kano and Kaduna, delivering crushing defeats to Jonathan there. In Kano, the state with the second-largest number of voters, Buhari had 1.9 million votes to Jonathan’s 216,000.
Tensions were building in Nigeria on Sunday as partial results from presidential elections, posted unofficially on the internet, raised expectations of an unprecedented opposition victory for former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari. Aides to President Goodluck Jonathan insisted the incumbent was still on course to secure the result and cautioned against numbers that had yet to be given a final stamp of approval by the Independent National Electoral Commission. “There is lots of hype and both sides are selectively putting up things on line. But we have been collecting results from units across the country,” said Deameari Von Kemedi, a lead campaigner for Mr Jonathan. “According to our own internal projections, although we do not have the complete picture yet, we project a Jonathan victory.”
Nigeria’s electoral commission says it has found a means to fight fraud that has marred votes repeatedly in Africa’s most populous nation: technology. While its decision to use biometric voter-card readers in general elections starting March 28 is favored by Muhammadu Buhari’s opposition alliance, President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party, which has won every election in Africa’s biggest oil producer since the end of military rule in 1999, is crying foul. All of the previous elections were marred by ballot stuffing, multiple and underage voting, and falsification of figures, according to local and international monitors. About 800 people died in violence in 2011 after Buhari lost to Jonathan and said the result was rigged.
The Nigerian federal high court in Lagos has barred the military from deploying around polling stations during March 28 national elections, the lawyer for the parliamentarian who brought the case said on Tuesday. Opposition leader Femi Gbajabiamila argued a deployment would violate the constitution, lawyer Ijeoma Njemanze said, amid opposition fears that soldiers may intimidate voters or tamper with ballot boxes. The ruling, made on Monday by Justice Ibrahim Buba, does not affect troops already dispatched to northeast Nigeria, where Islamists have waged a six-year insurgency, she added.
I was looking forward to being in Nigeria this weekend, writing a preview for the presidential elections at the end of the month. Not the way every Telegraph reader might want to spend their weekend, I grant you, but by foreign correspondents’ standards, it’s a Premier League fixture. The contest will decide who rules West Africa’s most important country, and in the wake of last year’s kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram, the wider world will be following it in a way they never used to. Sadly, if it’s on-the-ground reportage you want, don’t come to me. Or The Times or Channel 4 News. Or any of the 20-odd other British media outlets that have asked for press visas to cover the elections, and whose applications still languish in a pile at the Nigerian High Commission in London. (Fee £300, non-returnable.)
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured prospective voters that the elections now scheduled for March 28 will proceed as planned despite concerns the vote could be postponed again for security reasons. The general election, originally set for February 14, was postponed by the INEC, which cited security challenges in parts of the country’s north, where Boko Haram militants often attack civilians. Nick Dazang, INEC’s deputy director for public affairs, said the electoral body is using the postponement period to strengthen systems to ensure a transparent, credible, free and fair election. Dazang spoke after opposition groups including the All Progressives Congress led by retired General Muhammadu Buhari said they will not accept another “unconstitutional” postponement of the election.
They are still missing. #BringBackOurGirls was pleaded from the United Nations to the red carpet, from Michelle Obama to the Pope, but the Twitter activism and all the attention it garnered didn’t help. If anything, Boko Haram, the group that kidnapped and enslaved 276 young women in Nigeria 10 months ago, has only gotten stronger. Nigeria’s elections, originally scheduled for Feb. 14, were postponed until March 28, ostensibly to give President Goodluck Jonathan’s government time to improve security. But the delay was met with allegations of political interference, as Jonathan is in a tight race against opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari, who is from the northeastern region where Boko Haram is strongest. Denying the inference, Jonathan vowed in a CNN interview that there would be “serious advancements” against the terrorist group. But how will six weeks help?
Nigeria: Vote delay prompts suspicion of election rigging, worries of violence | The Washington Post
It had been two days since Nigeria’s presidential election was postponed at the behest of the military, and Idayat Hassan’s phone was ringing nonstop. “It’s like a coup against democracy,” said the director of the Center for Democracy and Development to the ninth or 10th reporter of the day. “It’s like blackmail,” Hassan said when her phone rang again. “I’m very worried,” she said to a colleague, and now she hung up the phone, put her head in her hands and sighed. “After 16 years of democracy — this.” This: For weeks, Africa’s most populous nation appeared to be barreling toward its most fiercely competitive election since it returned to civilian rule in 1999, a race between President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator. Hassan and others were training poll watchers. Ballot boxes were being distributed across the country. And Nigerians, from elite professionals to street hawkers, were beginning to sense a startling possibility: An election could actually kick the ruling party out. Except that then it all came to a grinding stop.
In northeast Nigeria, insurgent group Boko Haram group has distributed leaflets warning people to boycott the March 28 nationwide elections. But that is not the only threat to security, People are moving their families away from sites of possible tension around the country and are preparing for unrest once results are announced. From the Niger Delta to far northeast, the pre-election period has become a time of migration for some Nigerians. VOA met several on the streets of Kaduna. “My wife has been pestering me for the past three months,” said a man. “Even today, she called me to say ‘Are we ready to move to a safer ground?’” “Nobody wants to die for nothing. I myself, I am planning to relocate to the southern part of Kaduna where I will not be hearing sounds of war, drums of crisis, burning of tires and teargas, and all those kind of things,” said a woman.
There is mixed reaction to the six-week postponement of Nigeria’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The vote was delayed by the nation’s Independent National Electoral Commission, primarily because of security concerns in northeastern Nigeria. INEC Chairman Atthiru Jega announced the change a week ago, saying the elections would be held March 28. President Goodluck Jonathan appeared on television to express his disappointment about the postponement but noted that the war against Boko Haram in the northeast was intensifying. Adebowale Adefuye, Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, said Wednesday on VOA’s “Straight Talk Africa” that he was confident the election would be aboveboard and honest.
Nigeria’s electoral commission has delayed the Presidential election, which was to occur this Saturday, by six weeks in order for the military to launch an operation to secure the northeast from Boko Haram and guarantee the safety of voters in the region. President Goodluck Jonathan, whose government is undeniably corrupt and who could well lose the election to his challenger, the former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, stands to benefit from the postponement. It’s true that people in the northeast would find it difficult to vote: more than a million and a half of them have fled their homes, while others are living under Boko Haram occupation or have been warned by the Islamist terrorists not to participate in the election. It’s also true that Boko Haram’s insurgency began almost six years ago. If the government can neutralize the group in just six weeks, what has taken so long?
The six-week delay in Nigeria’s presidential election has raised red flags both in the international community and among local political and civil rights groups, with many concerned about the independence of the country’s electoral commission and whether the military hierarchy had too much say in the matter. President Goodluck Jonathan and his chief rival, former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, are facing off in what is probably the tightest presidential contest in the history of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and its economic powerhouse, so any change like moving back election day is seen as suspicious and a possible game-changer. Many international observers had already arrived in the country and foreign journalists were struggling to obtain visas when Nigeria’s electoral commission announced Saturday it was postponing the Feb. 14 presidential and legislative elections until March 28.
Nigerian authorities came under fire on Sunday over the decision to postpone national elections in the face of relentless Boko Haram violence, with the opposition branding the move a “major setback for democracy”. Nigeria’s electoral commission announced over the weekend that the presidential and parliamentary polls would be postponed from February 14 to March 28. The announcement came after weeks of near-daily attacks by the insurgents in the north-east, which had threatened the safety of the vote. But some observers charged that the political woes of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan — who faces a stiff challenge in his re-election bid against ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari — were the real reason for the delay.
“Nigerians Shocked!” proclaimed one headline reporting that presidential elections due to take place next Saturday had been delayed for six weeks. It was certainly a topic for discussion as people headed to church on Sunday in Lagos, the country’s commercial capital and a city where the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari has much support. The electoral commission said they were postponing elections by six weeks because troops needed to protect polling stations were occupied fighting Boko Haram militants. But reaction seems to have split along party lines, and many here saw the delay as a ploy to give the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) an opportunity to gain ground in the campaign. The news did not dampen electioneering, however, with APC youths chanting “change, change, change” as they headed for an afternoon rally in Ikoyi. Sweeping the road symbolically with brushes, they were vocal about their suspicions.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan held talks Thursday on postponing next week’s presidential election over mounting attacks by the radical Boko Haram group, but the election commission insisted on maintaining the date, a governor said. Jonathan held seven hours of talks with security officials, state governors, the election commission and former heads of state on whether to proceed with the vote in the face of growing bloodshed in the northeast, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha told journalists. Among those attending the meeting of the Council of State was Jonathan’s main challenger in the election, General Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, who led Nigeria between 1983 and 1985.
Nigeria’s election body said Wednesday that it may push back the deadline for distributing voter identity cards but denied media reports that the vote itself could be postponed. The spokesman for Independent National Election Commission (INEC), Kayode Idowu, told AFP that the body may allow voter ID cards to be handed out after the current February 8 deadline. However he described media reports about a possible election postponement as “completely false”.
A group of northern pro-democracy activists under the aegis of the Northern Coalition for Democracy and Justice (NCDJ), has reported the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, to the government of the United States of America (USA), asking it to facilitate his prosecution for his role in the post-election violence of 2011. The group, in a letter to the United States Secretary of States, Senator John Kerry, which was also copied to the US Ambassador to Nigeria, stated that the assistance of the US has become imperative in order to help Nigeria stem the tide of election violence in the 2015 election. In the letter dated January 25 and titled: ‘The role of General Muhammadu Buhari in the 2011 post-election violence in Nigeria,’ which was signed by Dr. Ibrahim Baba , Secretary Research and Documentation, Mr. Yunana Shubkau, Publicity Secretary and Umar Farouk, Secretary General, the NCDJ said it had dragged General Buhari to the International Criminal Court but needed the backing of the US to have Buhari repatriated to the court.
The All Progressives Congress, APC has issued a statement claiming the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is set to scuttle the victory of its Presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari. A statement issued by Garba Shehu, Directorate of Media & Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, read, ”The All Progressive Congress’ Presidential Campaign Organization has asked the general public to ponder on a statement posted on Facebook by an official of the Presidency saying their government will rather hand over power to the military rather than to General Muhammadu Buhari in the event that the APC candidate wins the election.
Tujja Masa won’t dare vote in Nigeria’s presidential election next month. The 50-year-old farmer is one of the hundreds of thousands who’ve fled their northeastern villages to escape gun and bomb attacks by Islamist militants. Raids last week were said to have killed hundreds of people in the town of Baga, while a girl as young as 10 detonated explosives at a market in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. The self-declared leader of the Islamist Boko Haram group, Abubakar Shekau, has likened democracy to homosexuality and incest in video messages. “I am really afraid of election day,” Masa said in Maiduguri, the city in which he’s sheltering with relatives after running away from Krenoa, his village in the north of Borno state. “Honestly we are praying for God to come to our aid and have hitch-free elections, but I will not go there.” Nigeria, home to Africa’s biggest economy, oil industry and population, is stumbling toward general elections in the face of worsening violence by the Islamist group, Boko Haram, and the introduction of a biometric voter-card system designed to end ballot stuffing and fraud.
Nigeria: Electoral Commission races to get voter cards out for presidential election | Worldbulletin News
Five weeks before a presidential election, Nigeria’s electoral commission said on Friday it has not yet finished printing the cards that voters will need to present at polling stations. Of the cards that are ready, about 15 million have not yet been collected by voters, sometimes because of apathy or geographical remoteness, said electoral commission spokesman Kayode Idowu, while insisting everything would be ready on time. Commission data showed no voter cards at all had been delivered to Borno state, the region worst hit by Boko Haram militants. More than 10,000 people died last year in the violence. The Feb. 14 election in Africa’s biggest economy and leading energy producer is expected to be a close contest between President Goodluck Jonathan and his leading challenger, Muhammadu Buhari. Its conduct will be closely watched, since past polls have been marred by widespread ballot-stuffing, violence and in some cases outright fabrication of results.
An election tribunal on Tuesday dismissed the main opposition party’s challenge over fraud claims in the April presidential election, revalidating the ruling party’s win in Africa’s most populous nation. The Congress for Progressive Change’s election lawsuit failed to cast reasonable doubt on the results that handed victory to President Goodluck Jonathan about six months ago, said Judge Kumai Akaas, who led a panel of four judges that reached an unanimous decision.
“The petitioner did not discharge the burden of proof, even on the balance of probability,” Akaas said. Opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari’s party challenged the results of the April 16 vote soon after the nation’s election body announced that Jonathan had won 22.4 million votes. The election body said Buhari had come in second place with 12.2 million votes, with the results giving Jonathan enough votes in at least 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states to avoid a runoff.
A Nigerian court rejected a challenge to President Goodluck Jonathan’s victory in an April election, scuppering demands by the main opposition party for a recount in several areas of the country. Jonathan was declared winner of the April 16 election with 59 percent of the vote. But his nearest rival, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who polled 32 percent, refused to accept the outcome.
Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) party filed a petition to challenge the result in May, arguing the vote was marred by irregularities. “The petition fails in its entirety and is hereby dismissed,” Justice Kumai Akaahs told the court on Tuesday, reading out a unanimous decision by five judges.
Nigeria: Granting Congress for Progressive Change access to Nigerian biometric data will harm national security – INEC | Daily Trust
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday told the Presidential Election Tribunal headed by President of the Court of Appeal Justice Ayo Salami that allowing the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) access to the biometrics data base of registered voters used for the April presidential election will jeopardise national security.
This is just as the Tribunal adjourned to August 29 for the interpretation its earlier order granting CPC access to INEC sensitive materials and also entertain CPC’s motion seeking to declare its presidential candidate in April general elections General Muhammadu Buhari as President would be heard.
The CPC had filed a motion praying the Tribunal to give the party judgment, alleging that the INEC disobeyed the tribunal’s order by denying the party access to the sensitive material used during the April 2011 President.